I grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina, as one of 50 Jewish families. My parents were very involved in the Temple, the sisterhood, Hadassah and Hebrew School. Their social calendar and friends revolved around Gastonia’s closely knit Jewish community. My parents set an example for us by being involved as Jews. My brothers and I attended Friday night services on a regular basis and learned from our parents how to be responsible, active Jewish citizens of the world.
When I moved to New York City, it was a different experience for me and for the first time in my life I felt “surrounded” by Jewish people. I found it was easy to “be Jewish” without doing or affiliating with anything Jewish, a much different feeling than growing up in Gastonia. In 1991, I returned to the south very reluctantly. I was fearful that I would not be able to instill in my children the importance of the gift of their heritage. I did not want my children to be the only Jewish children in their classrooms at school and wanted to make sure that I could find for my two young children a nurturing and intimate atmosphere to learn and to experience Judaism.
I understood that to be Jewish in Charlotte and experience a Jewish life, you needed to be involved. We quickly became involved with the Jewish Preschool on Sardis and the Federation. It was important for me to be an active part of our Jewish community and set an example for my children, as my parents did for me. Through their enrollment at Charlotte Jewish Day School, not only did Judaism become a part of my children’s soul, but through them I learned more about the history and the rituals of Judaism and built upon what I had experienced as a child. The Charlotte Jewish Day School was an oasis for my family and the decision to enroll my children in the school has played a significant part in all of our lives.
My children continue to be involved in Hebrew High School, BBYO and Friendship Circle. We have traveled to Israel as a family and my children already are beginning to experience and “live” through their connection to Israel. It is my hope that my gift will enable more children and families to grow as dedicated, committed and active Jews, becoming a vibrant part of the Charlotte community and Jewish communities around the world.
Back to Index